Sean Penn Talks With Sean Hannity, Lawrence O’Donnell About Ukraine « CmaTrends

Sean Penn spoke to cable viewers across the political spectrum on Tuesday night, appearing on both the right-leaning Fox News and left-leaning MSNBC within the span of two hours to discuss support for Ukraine amid the country’s invasion by Russian military forces.

Penn began the evening with an in-person appearance on the N.Y.-based “Hannity,” engaging in a conversation with Fox News conservative commentator Sean Hannity. Hannity began the segment by recounting how the comparatively liberal Penn decided to come onto the program.

“I made the first phone call to you,” Hannity began. “Do you remember what you first said to me?”

“I said ‘I don’t trust you,’” Penn responded. “But we have to get on with life… We all talk about how divisive things are, how divided things are here. When you step into a country of incredible unity, you realize what we’ve all been missing. I don’t think I’ve got time to indulge my lack of trust, which becomes a petty thing. These people are fighting for the dreams and aspirations of all of us Americans.”

Penn went on to explain the documentary he was filming in Ukraine before the invasion began, and how his relationship with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy evolved as the conflict escalated.

“In him, I saw something I’d never seen before,” Penn said. “It is clear to me that the Ukrainians will win this. The question is at what cost.”

Penn’s conversation with Hannity was followed by an appearance on MSNBC’s “The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell” in which he extended further praise for President Zelenskyy. It is somewhat rare for an individual outside of the cable news rotation to make appearances on two different networks on the same night, especially two with traditionally opposing partisan sensibilities.

“[Zelenskyy] is the face of so many Ukrainians. And yet, it’s not conceivable that he could’ve known the day before that he would really be able to rise up,” Penn told O’Donnell. “This is leadership that we aspire to. This is freedom of thought and true leadership that is just so moving. It’s the kind of moving that we need to be able to get [to the United States], which is borderline a kind of populist lap dance of a nation at this point. We’ve got to get back on track together and realize that Ukraine, with all its diversity, has a unity we’ve never seen in modern times with the challenge it has.”

Sean Penn has started to make more cable news appearances in the time since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine in February. The actor and activist has devoted himself to operations around the geopolitical conflict in recent weeks. In February, Penn was on the ground in Ukraine filming a documentary for Vice Studios. Penn’s nonprofit organization CORE is also actively raising funds to assist Ukrainian refugees.

At the end of last month, Penn made an appearance on CNN and vowed to Jim Acosta that he would publicly “smelt” his Oscar statuettes if the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences didn’t invite President Zelenskyy to speak during the awards ceremony telecast.

“I pray that’s not what’s happened,” Penn told Acosta. “I pray there have not been arrogant people, who consider themselves representatives of the greater good in my industry, that have [decided against checking] with leadership in Ukraine. So I’m just going to hope that that’s not what’s happened. I hope [every attendee] walks out if it is.”

While Zelenskky did not appear during the Oscars broadcast, he did appear in a pre-taped message at the Grammy Awards on Sunday. It remains unclear whether the Oscars team elected against inviting Zelenskyy to speak during the show or if the President instead declined.

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